Unisa Press

Philosophy in world cultures

Author: Prof. Pascah Mungwini
Published: 2017-10-05 00:00:00.0
ISBN: 978-1-86888-841-2
Number of pages: 236
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About the book

Some of the most provoctive questions confronted by philosophers in Africa are grounded in historical memory. Among these are the experiences of conquest and the subsequent peripheralisation of most things African including its knowledge and philosophy. This book is in part a response to this nemetic experience. The book is a critical reconstruction of indigenous Shona philosophy as a aspect of the African intellectual heritage. It aims to retrace the epistemic thread in the indigenous traditions of the Shona and to lay out the philosophy imbued in them. Every civilisation constructs for itself an intellectual heritage and archive from which it draws inspiration. In this book the author argues that philosophy in Africa has a historical responsibility to help drive the unfinished humanistic project of decolonisation and to reclaim the African past in search of identity and authentic liberation. That entails, as the author points out, opening up those indigenous horizons of thinking and knowing that have been held hostage by colonial modernity and which now face potential extinction. On this basis African philosophy will be able not only to set itself on the path to total self-affirmation, but also to repair the colonial wound and deal with various forms of epistemic injustices that afflict the continent. This book is one of the first comprehensive texts to be written on the philosophical thinking of the indigenous Shona – that group of people credited with the founding of the ancient Great Zimbabwe civilisation and for constructing the Great Zimbabwe UNESCO world heritage monuments. The book aims to contribute to the dissemination of the thoughts of the Shona, whose culture and philosophical ideas have not been suffiently explored, but which continue to influence the lives of its peoples to this day. Through this book the author seeks to confer this intellectual heritage with the immortality it deserves, and, therefore, keep those classical ideas alive for posterity. According to the author the ultimate goal of philosophy is to champion dialogue among the world’s different civilisations in pursuit of truth, knowledge, and justice. In this globalised world, knowledge of each other’s cultures and the assumptions that inform our thinking and actions- including- inaction are fundamental to the future of humanity. By reconstructing the philosophy of one of Africa’s indigenous cultures, the author not only lays down the basis for dialogue across cultures, but he also opens the opportunity for scholars in Africa to dialogue with their past, critically analyse it and, where possible, appropriate its ideals to improve humanity.